Finally Learn to Write That Marketing Plan•
Posted on July 08 2014
It isn’t rocket science, you know you need a marketing plan for your small business, but you also know that you have no idea where to start in making one. That’s where we come in. You can write a marketing plan if you know the ingredients. So here are the ingredients for a marketing plan that you can use to not only move your business forward but to get a loan if required, and to use as an outline for your future.
Prepare Before Writing
Don’t just start on Page 1. Get an outline and some notes in order. Get the organizational chart, a flow chart, your company’s financial records, a list of products, and the best information you can amass of your target audience and demographics. Make sure you can talk intelligently about all these things before you start writing.
Know the Environment
Similarly, you must know in detail and with confidence the environment in which you are to work. Who are you aiming your product toward? What’s your history and the history of businesses like yours, and what have been some highs and lows in both your history and the field’s history. Be specific. Be detailed. Be educated. Now is not the time or place for hunches and opinions, it’s for indisputable facts.
Know Your Enemy
You also need to map out, again in detail, the threats and also the opportunities in the environment around you. What trends in the market place are toward you strength and which are potentially against you. Are you computer systems up to date? Is your management staff aging? Now is not the time to worry about hurt feelings or to sugar coat anything. Spell it out and clearly.
Objectives and Goals
The more specific you can make your goals and objectives, the easier it will be to later assess how you are doing toward reaching them. Again, be clear. You want to expand but to where, and with what percentage of your company. Satellite offices? Financial goals? Employee goals? Numbers and specifics.
Here’s where you take a specific goal and, one by one, map out a strategy for how you can go about reaching that individual goal. Don’t worry about prioritizing the goals here – big and small goals alike need attention at this stage of the strategy. Go ahead and work in a Matrix type situation – for each goal you can break it down by time, 1 month, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years. When plotted out in a Matrix, the benchmarks may be easier to discern.
When laying out the budget, be sure to be meticulous and think of all the costs, even the hidden costs. Pad the numbers a little so you won’t be surprised at the end of the day. Get your entire team on this because different members of different aspects of the organization may know of costs that you may not be aware of. You need this to not surprise, and you need not be shy because cutting costs has to come in real life, not in the budgeting phase.
The Summary is the narrative part where you wrap up the whole strategy and touch on the goals and aspirations you have. You acknowledge strategies for assessing the efficacy of the campaigns, and more important, what you can do to quickly fix issues that you may find. This will be the place for you to wrap up the whole thing and be a little less specific, to give the vision of your marketing plan.
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